"Foucault and creative resistance in organisations"
by Dalgliesh, Bregham (2009)
There is a common misperception that Michel Foucault either had nothing constructive to contribute to the relationship between the subject and the other, or that at best he portrayed intersubjective relations as riddled with power that tends to domination and subjection. This paper aims to counter such a fallacy. Design/methodology/approach – The argument first highlights Foucault’s concern with the status of the other, initially as a form of biopower that disciplines and regulates and, subsequent to the development of critical history, as a form of biopower that also constitutes the subject. It is then shown why this conception of the other in terms of relations of power/technoscience through which the subject is constructed is both an ethical and political question. Findings – For organisations seeking to balance control with creativity for the purposes of fostering innovation, it is demonstrated how reflection upon Foucault’s as yet unexplored work on the other, which proffers a notion of a subject who practices freedom in the context of disciplinary and regulatory power, might serve as a toolkit for managers who exercise control but who also seek to foster creativity from those subject to them. Originality/value – A subject-other relationship is put forth in terms of an account of how freedom that is agonistically articulated in the face of control is tantamount to creative resistance, which in turn is translated into a value to be fostered by organisations that pursue creative destruction.
There is a common misperception that Michel Foucault was oblivious to the relationship between the subject and the other, if not hostile to its very possibility in as much as he conflated them together in his notion of power. In the pages that follow, I want not only to counter such a fallacy but to argue that, in the context of organisations seeking to balance control with creativity for the purposes of fostering innovation, Foucault offers a solution to this conundrum. Insofar as theory ought to be deformed for the analytical purpose on hand (Burrell, 1988, p. 229), his vision of how subjects who are produced by power that controls, yet who articulate their freedom via an act of creative resistance, may serve as a “toolkit” for action (Foucault, 1980, p. 145). (p.45)
KeywordsFoucault, Creative Resistance, Organisational Studies, Discipline, Disciplinary Power, Power, Freedom, Resistance
ThemesOn Foucault, Foucault, Critical Management Studies, Organisation and Management Studies
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